Music Within | Chicago Reader

Music Within

This offbeat biopic is driven by Ron Livingston's engaging performance as Richard Pimentel, a gifted public speaker who lost his hearing in the Vietnam war and then spearheaded the disability rights movement in the U.S. The early scenes recall The World According to Garp as they mordantly recount Pimentel's chaotic childhood with a suicidal mother (Rebecca De Mornay), and his skewed perspective is reinforced in college when he's inspired to activism by a fellow student who has cerebral palsy (Michael Sheen in a scene-stealing turn). Livingston balances his character's fundamental seriousness with disarming humor: lobbying an employer to hire a dwarf as a file clerk, he quips, “She specializes in L through Z.” Steven Sawalich directed with invention and heart. R, 93 min.

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